Location: Sorrento, VIC
Architect: J.D. Scott
Date Played: 20th March 2017
Sorrento Golf Club is located in one of Australia’s great golfing regions, the Mornington Peninsula. With no less than nine courses ranked in the top 100, it is an ideal place to organise a golf getaway.
Sorrento Golf Club Entrance
Established in 1907, the course was founded by some city gentleman with homes located in the Sorrento and Portsea area. To this day it seems like half of Melbourne holiday in the area during the warmer months.
James and myself with our regular selfie
This was one of the more unusual ways I have gained access to a course. My regular playing partner James and I managed to qualify for the Mazda 4BBB finals, where were held at Sorrento Golf Club and The National Golf Club Ocean course. With our qualifying round held at Kingston Heath, it was a great way to play three good golf courses.
Clubhouse at Sorrento Golf Club
The clubhouse sits at one of the highest points on the property, offering views for some of the course off at its sides. Directly in front sits the practice green and driving range.
Locker Room at Sorrento Golf Club
One of the more unusual colour schemes I have come across in a locker room, is the doors on each locker being ranging from white to black. Almost resembles a chess board.
S0rrento Golf Course Map
The course is fairly spread out with generous fairways on most holes. This is helped by being on a decent parcel of land.
Scorecard for Sorrento Golf Club
On the day of play, it was a shotgun start, seeing our group tee off from the 10th.
Hole 1 – 298 meter par 4
Starting the round at Sorrento Golf Club is the easiest ranked index par 4. Playing from an elevated tee, this short hole with a dogleg right, asks questions from the first shot. A large bunker is found on the inside of the turn, running around fifty meters. Carrying this will shorten the approach. A ridge runs through the middle of the fairway, to the right sloping towards the fairway bunker. The left towards water, although adequate distance is found from the fairway so should not come into play.
Approach to the 1st green
One large trap to the right is located short of the green. With a few small swales around, it is quite large at the front, narrowing towards its rear. A couple of undulations are found on the putting surface, which was quite firm but had true run. Good first hole offering some strategy off the tee. Even though a shorter par 4, the scorecard could blow out.
Hole 2 – 141 meter par 3
Next is the shortest hole on course, as well as being the hardest index par 3. Not too often do you find this combination. The tee shot plays over water, although there is a route around, before reaching a raised green built into a hill.
Raised 2nd green
The green angles away to the right, with two traps covering half the green. There is some slope at the rear, which may allow a long shot to roll back towards the target, but the more likely scenario is running away from the green with a couple of small hollows behind. Anything short and the large slope leading away at the front will repeal the ball. Quite like the design of the hole, which caters for all levels of player. Enough space is found at the front of the green to bring the ball in a variety of ways.
Hole 3 – 456 meter par 5
To the shortest and easiest index ranked par 5. From the tee this hole is framed nicely. Water is found left, encroaching into the fairway, whilst a hill awaits at driving distance with bunkers staggered on either side. Reaching the peak will allow a clear view to the green, otherwise a blind shot is required.
Looking back from the 3rd green
The fairway falls away before rising again at the green, which angles away to the right. A bunker is located at the front, leaving the best approach from the left of the fairway. Everything around the green complex slopes left to right, but the putting surface does slope away towards the rear. Enjoyable hole with strategy becoming key in the second portion. Having a few elevation changes along the way makes this more interesting, where an odd stance maybe required.
Hole 4 – 274 meter par 4
From the shortest par 5 to the shortest par 4, this hole plays with a dogleg to the left. There is a big question asked on how to play the tee shot. Those daring and long enough may try to carry the trees located on the inside of the turn, but minimal fairway is found beyond, plus they are quite high. Those playing to the corner, where ample fairway can be found, need to ensure they don’t take too much club as it will be easy to run out of room.
View of the 4th green
The green complex is designed for shots from the right of the fairway, with five bunkers found around the sides. A couple of mounds are found on the putting surface, which also gets larger as you move towards the rear. Good hole which offers some risk vs reward from the tee, but also still has some various strategies, for those who have played safe. The green has some challenging pin positions, especially those towards the left rear, tucked into an area with bunkers surrounding.
Hole 5 – 192 meter par 3
Finished with the shortest holes, we come to the longest par 3. Trees of various size, run down the right side, but plenty of short grass is found leading into the hole.
Looking down at the 5th green
A large oval green awaits the tee shot, with a bunker on either side, but plenty of room to run the ball in if required. The putting surface slopes away to either side at the rear. For a long hole it this is nicely shaped, not going over the top with design elements, but allowing for a variety of play, dependent upon ability or conditions.
Hole 6 – 328 meter par 4
This short par 4 plays with a slight turn to the right, but has a blind tee shot. A post is positioned to allow view of where the green is located. Playing as close to the fairway bunkers on the right, will offer a better line into the green. Too far right will see the ball run away down a steep hill.
Looking back from the 6th green
After reaching the top of the hill, the fairway runs down slope before reaching the green, which is slightly raised. A trap is located to the left, which will leave an intimidating recover shot, with the putting surface running away before finding a steep slope away on the surrounds. There are two distinct tiers to contend with on the green. A simple yet effective design. Would be interesting to see the greenside bunker extended a little further forward, giving a higher reward for playing near the fairway bunker.
Hole 7 – 378 meter par 4
Another blind tee shot, but this time down hill. Playing with a dogleg right, it is possible to see the fairways end at the turn, but little else. The landing space is extremely wide, with a bunker located on the inside right. Carrying this will leave a much shorter approach.
View from the turn on the 7th fairway
Ideally finding the left portion of the fairway for the approach, leaves a shot which can be played in a variety of ways. A large bunker is located short right, built into the hill. This is actually deceptive, hiding the fact that the green is actually raised on all sides. Enjoyable hole which caters for all level of player. The large drop from the tee, makes it play much shorter than its suggested difference. The bunkers are fairly well placed, offering strategy for each shot.
Hole 8 – 414 meter par 4
Next is another hole which doglegs right, but this is a lot more difficult. Rated second hardest hole on the course, this long par 4 starts from an elevated tee, giving a view of the dangers ahead. Playing close to the left will assist in shortening the hole, but brings in a water carry and a line of fairway traps.
Long approach from the 8th fairway
To get the ideal line for the approach to most pin positions, driving long to find the end of the fairway on the turn. If not the bunker left leading into the green, must be carried for any pin positions this side. Front of the green does have a slope leading away, but it is still possible to run the ball in, which maybe the case for quite a few players. Various slopes and mounds are found around the complex, with the putting surface almost leading in from each side towards the middle. Certainly deserving of its ranking, the hole will test most golfers. The hole offers some risk on the tee, but has options to play for safety. I like the fact the green complex is quite generous and open, especially as it requires two well struck shots to reach. The green side bunker offers deception, yet can be played over or around to reach the green.
Hole 9 – 520 meter par 5
From one of the longest par 4 holes to the longest on the course. This is also the hardest ranked par 5. From the tee the hole sweeps right, with a recently renovated large bunker found down the right. Most of the fairway slopes towards this, but there is ample room to land the ball safely. Playing close to the bunker offers a better line for the second or approach shot.
Bunkering along the 9th fairway
The second portion of the hole sees a slight turn to the left with a narrowing fairway, the closer we get to the green. A second fairway bunker is found short of the green. Ideally playing as close to this as possible will open up the putting surface to most pin positions.
Looking back along the 9th hole
Built into the hill, this green complex has a large slope leading up to the putting surface, and angles away to the right of the fairway. Bunkers are found to the right protecting most rear pin positions, with mounds and hollows found on all other sides. A forgiving hole, which has strategy from tee to green. Even though quite long, some downhill slopes makes this play slightly shorter.
Hole marker at Sorrento Golf Club
Tee markers are found at Sorrento, showing hole number, distance and par. These are similar to the type you find at most clubs. The pin flags were plain, but did have various colours depending on pin position.
Hole 10 – 382 meter par 4
Our starting hole for the game, was the 10th. Unfortunately the course does not have two loops, instead being one continuous loop, although the 15th tee is close to the clubhouse. This hole plays with a slight turn to the right. The fairway has plenty of width to land the tee shot, although playing as close to the right treeline will leave the best approach.
View across the 10th green
Trees narrow on the second portion of the hole, leading to a green which angles slightly away to the left. Multiple traps are found around the green, one to the rear right, the others left. A false front is present on the putting surface, but still allows the ball to be run into the green. The shaping of the fairway and surrounding trees, makes this hole look narrower than it actually is. It also ensures some thought should be given before hitting from the tee. Bunker placement and green shaping makes the first shot important for the approach. Well thought out hole.
Hole 11 – 489 meter par 5
Playing back in the opposite direction is this par 5. The tee shot is to a plateau, with a large bunker to the left, at which point the fairway starts to narrow.
Looking down the 11th fairway
For the second shot, play is down a large hill, shortening the hole quite a bit. A fairway trap is staggered on either side, before the land rises again up to the green.
Bunkers line the front of the 11th green
Making the approach to the raised green, three traps are located on the right hand portion. There is no real clear line into this green, so pin position will determine the ideal line on the day. There is ample room beyond the green, where the ground rises, but this will leave a difficult shot back for anyone who has played long. The hole looks nice, especially when playing the second, but really not sure on the fairway bunker positions or the green shaping. No real strategy options are found after playing down the hill.
Hole 12 – 415 meter par 4
Next is the longest par 4 and hardest ranked hole. This is certainly a tough cookie. With a dogleg to the left, the tee shot is up a steady incline, with the fairway sweeping to the left. Fairway traps are found on the inside of the turn. Finding these will leave an impossible shot to the green.
View of the 12th green
Finding the left side of the fairway, leaves the best angle for the approach. Sitting at the bottom of a large mound, this green is protected on the right side by a large bunker. The putting surface is slightly raised at the front, but not enough to prevent a ball being run into the green. A few humps and hollows on the surrounds will leave some interesting shots. A tough hole due to the length, and playing mostly up slope, but good hazard position, ensures some thought should be taken on playing the hole.
Hole 13 – 168 meter par 3
Playing across a valley, this mid length par 3 is all about the carry. The green is built into the hillside, leaving a steep drop at the front. Here multiple bunkers are found to the right, whilst another is located to the left.
Looking back from the 13th green
A smallish green awaits, with the rear slightly raised above the green surrounds, although playing slightly long is a fairly safe option with the hill sloping back towards the green. Challenging par 3 which will test distance control.
Hole 14 – 385 meter par 4
Heading back towards the clubhouse for the first time since the round began, is this long par 4. With a dogleg to the left, the tee shot must reach a rise, before the green is visible.
Approach to the 14th green – just not from the fairway
Ideally finding the left portion of the fairway will leave the best angle to the green, but this will be quite difficult due to the fairway slope. May also be undesirable due to the stance required to play the ball. A bunker protects the right side of this large raised green. The hole reminds me a bit of the 6th hole at Newcastle Golf Club, although the green cannot be seen from the tee on this hole.
Hole 15 – 175 meter par 3
Starting the run to the most northern part of the course is this medium length par 3, more so due to playing down slope. Playing over a ravine, there is ample room before the green. With a large slope leading away, you may find yourself shorter than expected.
Looking across at the 15th green
Two large bunkers are found on the higher left side of the green complex, whilst another sits slightly away on the right at the base of some trees. The putting surface is long with a few undulations at the rear. Another short hole where distance control is critical to reach the green.
Hole 16 – 330 meter par 4
A challenging shorter par 4 which plays with a dogleg right. From the tee the landing area looks extremely small, with trees and long grass tight on either side. This is partly deception as the fairway angles away to the right, but it certainly isn’t the widest fairway on the course.
Humps on the 16th fairway
Ideally finding the right hand side of the fairway leaves a more favourable angle into the green. There are a few humps in the second portion of the fairway, but these look a bit to manufactured, which really detracts from the hole.
Looking back from the 16th green
The green is quite wide at the entry, with a large trap to the left. A smaller one is at the rear on the right, where the green narrows considerably. Was not a stand out hole, having such a narrow fairway, which did not leave much for error, but also humps that looked out of place on the flat land.
Hole 17 – 146 meter par 3
Turning towards the clubhouse is the easiest par 3 at Sorrento Golf Club. Similar in distance to the second, this hole plays over very flat land, where the green and surrounding bunkers have been lifted to be visible.
Bunkering around the 17th green
One large bunker is located at the front of the green, whilst two smaller traps are located on either side midway. The putting surface is longish, almost the shape of a kidney bean. Almost straight in comparison to the tee position, it is only the bunker short which asks a question of the player, that is to carry the ball on, although a small slither of land is found right allowing the ball to be run in along the ground.
Hole 18 – 342 meter par 4
Finishing the round is this mid length par 4 playing up a hill with a slight turn to the right. There is a lot of room to land the ball from the tee, but three bunkers run diagonally in from the right of the fairway. This leads to a narrow portion of the fairway being found at the last bunker, although this will only be reached by longer hitters.
Approach from the 18th fairway
The second shot will be uphill. With a bunker on the front right of the green, those being center to left of the fairway will have a clearer line into the green.
Looking back from the 18th green
There is a large ridge through the middle of the green, which will prove tricky if on the wrong side. A decent expanse of short grass around the green allow for a variety of play. Not a bad hole to finish the round, although not the strongest strategically on the course.
Panoramic view from the practice green
Looking at the course makeup:
- Hole Directions – There was a very good variety in hole directions, allowing for conditions to have wide ranging effects during play. It was a fairly even split among all points on the compass. Only one case of holes in the same direction, 17 and 18 to finish the round
- Hole Lengths – Par three holes had a reasonable variance in distance, the majority in mid length. Par four holes ranged from short to long with the majority being either short or long length. Par 5 holes ranged from mid to long with the latter being the majority. Balance between the two nines was consistent in par types, although the front nine was heavy in short par 4 holes, whilst the back heavy in longer par 4’s
- Hole Layout – There was a decent mixture in how the holes played, although a majority tended to favour turns to the right, where two shots or more were required to reach the green. There were consecutive holes turning in the same direction, although usually between different hole lengths ensuring variety
The Conditions at Sorrento Golf Club, were very hard to fault. In fact it was in impeccably great. From the tees which were very even and rotated quite well, to the rolling fairways which were finely manicured, offering some run. Bunkers around the course were quite consistent in sand density and presentation. The bent grass greens, were firm, yet still held the ball. Run on these was quite true, but appropriate for the windy conditions which can be encountered on the peninsula.
There were a few holes which were standout for me, they being 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14. I quite liked the opening two holes, but it was some of the longer ones which were enjoyable. Overall the course was memorable, with a mixture of elevation changes, seeing a variety of play.
My big question, would I return or not. Even taking out my normal rule of playing a course twice before deciding, with Sorrento Golf Club there is no hesitation. Would be quite glad to return on a regular basis. But after making the comment today, there are some many great courses in Melbourne, it is hard to get back to some.
How to play at Sorrento GC:
1. Be invited by a member
2. Play in limited times available to public (none during January)